I'm back! Having been gone since March 23 because of a total right knee replacement, I'm ready to get back to work. However, I want to thank a few people.
First of all Bill Abraham for holding down the fort while I was absent. Also, I want to thank R.J. Goode and Judy Light for all their efforts to help Bill in filling the sports columns with stories and photos.
In addition, Whitney Clegg and Chuck Murdock provided pictures. I was told the Valley baseball, River and Hundred softball coaches were very helpful in always having stats for Bill to write a story. Thank you so much Dave Wright, Jim West, and Brian Bartlett.
At the home front, I had my Facebook friends encouraging me and a local New Martinsville eighth grader, Mitch "Big Meech" Winters volunteered to mow my grass. It's not very common for young people to go out of their way to help a total stranger. Thank you so much. I'll remember your kindness.
While at home, my lovely sister, Sheila Estep, came to the house every morning and afternoon to help me get in the Mean Machine that helped me get my knee bent to its furthest point. When finished with home health, I went to Wetzel County Hospital Physical Therapy Unit where there were 11 people to work you for a full hour and make sure you do the proper exercises. To them, I also say thank you. But, of course if it wasn't for my doctor and my favorite nurse of all time, my wife Lynne, I wouldn't be able to be back to work.
Before the total knee surgery, I had five knee operations since my sophomore year in high school. I thought it was about time to take care of business and get one of my knees replaced.
If I could go back in time, I would, of course, change the way I went about my daily routine. For starters, I would not get prepared for play and work without first stretching my limbs, especially the quad. I did stretch, but not the way I should have before play and manual labor.
While recovering from my surgery, I had a lovely lady come to my house three days a week, helping me get my strength and mobility for out-patient therapy-Noelle Adams. During our two weeks, I found out she played softball for Linsly in 2002 for Liz Hofreuter-Landin. She then played for Shenda Stanton at Marshall University before hitting the big leagues with the Rockford Thunder under General Manager Aaron Moore for two seasons before the team disbanded. That's when she decided to become a physical therapist.
Lucky for me that Noelle came into my life to help me get back to work sooner, rather than later. She played softball with girls that competed in the Olympics. Her parents are Pam and Charles Adams. She has a brother, Chad, who was a football and baseball standout at Washington and Jefferson College.
I know I have missed quite a bit, but I'm ready to get back into the grind as I continue planning for the Wetzel Chronicle's "Let's Strikeout Cancer Softball Tournament."
To all the youth in our area, please remember to stretch those muscles before you compete. Again, thanks to all who have helped - and are helping - to keep the newspaper's sports pages full.
In conclusion my heart goes out to Bill Stewart's family in his passing Monday. He was a great man and New Martinsville and Mountaineer Nation truly lost a true fan of our town and WVU. He will be truly missed.